"The course met my expectations and expanded my field of knowledge to cover natural conservation, applied policy, transport and retail planning"

Mehdi Ouhaddou student profile photo
Mehdi Ouhaddou
MSc Applied GIS Graduate
Business and Data Analyst for Beryl
Applied GIS Graduate Mehdi discusses his work around sustainable transportation, skills he picked up when studying with USP and offers advice to aspiring GIS students.

Can you tell us what a typical day in your role is like?

As a Business and Data Analyst at the UK’s leading micromobility company, my role involves the management, engineering and visualisation of a high volume  of data from different sources. I usually start my day with a ‘Morning Data Check’ which is a routine practice that helps me identify any anomalies or issues that happened overnight or during non-working hours in our  cloud system. My responsibility as a Business analyst is to provide our customers with daily, weekly and monthly reports in the form of interactive dashboards to have a clear picture on the performance of assets and operations teams and thus contributing in the smooth delivery of our services. 

What attracted you to this role, and what aspect do you enjoy the most?

Micromobility is a growing industry which encourages the use of sustainable transportation modes and shifting from conventional vehicles.  I found the opportunity to apply my skills in data science, analysis, and GIS within the realm of urbanisation particularly appealing. Contributing to the promotion of transportation modes that alleviate congestion, reduce noise, and combat air pollution aligns with my career aspirations and personal values.

What skills did you learn during your degree that you use in your career?

As an MSc student in Applied GIS I have developed skills in processing and visualising different types of spatial datasets using both proprietary and open source software. In my current role I am involved in the administration of our ArcGIS enterprise account along with the planning team. Bike hire schemes rely on an efficient real-time tracking of  assets and on the ability to extract insights from their usage. Furthermore, my experience as a student in USP at Sheffield helped with me apply a range of  spatial analysis techniques when deciding suitable locations for new bike stations based on multiple criteria or identifying routes that would expose users to traffic  accidents.  

Why did you choose to study in USP at Sheffield?

After completing my first masters in Energy and Environmental Finance, I developed a keen awareness of the pivotal role that GIS plays  in quantifying and visualising the impacts of both the built and natural environment on the future of our planet.  Being  already a postgraduate I was looking for a  masters that  would provide practical, hands-on experience in geospatial data sciences through computer-based workshops and field work. The course met my expectations and expanded my field of knowledge to cover natural conservation, applied policy, transport and retail planning etc. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying/looking for work in your field? 

Remember that being able to deal with complex spatial datasets and using advanced quantitative skills as well as demonstrating an eagerness to apply them in different contexts is an invaluable asset and a competitive advantage in the job market. 
Moreover, small and medium sized companies don’t always advertise their job openings in widely used platforms – Search using industry specific keywords and explore company’s websites. 

Finally, I would recommend maintaining an open-minded approach when embarking on your initial job search. Many industries that recently started harnessing the potential of geospatial technologies are now evolving due to the integration of cloud systems, IoTs, and asset tracking. This expanding landscape offers a spectrum of possibilities, making your first job a gateway to unforeseen yet exciting domains where you could apply.

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